US Senator Dick Durbin: Senator Dick Durbin serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader (also known as the Democratic Whip) — the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate—and on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, and Rules Committees. Mr. Durbin has focused on progressive issues of strengthening the middle class and consumer protection; fighting for strong safety net programs for seniors and working families; and protecting the environment. A staunch advocate for improving health care, he was the author of landmark legislation to ban smoking on commercial airline flights, which worked to protect children from the harm caused by tobacco. For his work, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Lung Association.
Recently, Durbin was an active participant in a 16-month debate about health insurance reform. With Durbin's help, Congress passed and the President signed into law landmark legislation to bring costs under control, extend access to affordable health insurance to those without insurance, make sure that folks have a fighting chance against insurance companies that turn them down when they need help the most, and make sure Medicare is strong for years to come.
Among his other health achievements, Durbin has worked successfully for increased federal funding to prevent childhood asthma, increase immunizations and expand medical research. He has successfully fought to increase the share of federal funding dedicated to combating AIDS worldwide. He has also been a leader in promoting organ and tissue donation. In the spring of 2004, Durbin put forth a plan to give small businesses affordable choices among private health insurance plans and expand access to coverage for their employees. Durbin has been at the forefront of calls for new initiatives to address the growing opioids crisis across Illinois as well as the nation.
Speakers (in alphabetical order)
William Evans: William Evans is the Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame and he is currently serving as the Chair of the Department of Economics. Evans received an undergraduate degree in Economics from Wake Forest University in 1983 and his PhD in economics from Duke University in 1987. His research spans a broad range of topics including health economics, the economics of education, labor economics and public finance. He has published more than 75 academic articles, his work has appeared in the top journals in the economics profession and his research is routinely covered by the popular press. In 2013, he and his colleague James Sullivan launched the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, a research center at Notre Dame designed to find evidenced-based solutions to poverty.
Zachary T. Fardon: Zachary T. Fardon served as a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade before entering private law practice and then returning to government service as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He began serving as the U.S. Attorney in Chicago on October 23, 2013, after President Obama signed his commission. In January 2014, Mr. Fardon was appointed to a two-year term on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.
Mr. Fardon leads an office that is widely recognized for numerous significant investigations and prosecutions involving international terrorism and terrorism financing, public corruption, corporate fraud, violent crime, narcotics, and gangs. As U.S. Attorney, Mr. Fardon directs the implementation of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a federal anti-gun violence initiative with the Chicago Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He is also committed to leading other anti-violent crime programs, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies, as part of an intensive effort to reduce violence, often triggered by Chicago street gangs.
Mr. Fardon earned his JD at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Craig Garthwaite: Craig Garthwaite joined the faculty at the Kellogg School of Management in 2009. He is an applied microeconomist whose research examines the effects of government policies and social phenomena with a focus on the health sector. He has examined the labor supply effects of the Affordable Care Act, the reactions of non-profit hospitals to financial shocks, the economic benefits of health care innovations, and the changes in physician labor supply following large public health insurance expansions. He has also estimated the role of the emergence of crack cocaine markets in increasing the black-white education gap and the causal effect of cash transfers from government programs on health outcomes.
Garthwaite received a B.A. and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. Prior to receiving his PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland, he served in a variety of public policy positions including the Director of Research for the Employment Policies Institute.
Patrice A. Harris: Dr. Patrice Harris, a psychiatrist from Atlanta, is chair of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Board of Trustees. Active in organized medicine her entire career, Dr. Harris has held many leadership positions at both the national and state level. In addition to serving on the AMA’s Board of Trustees since 2011, Dr. Harris previously served as chair of the AMA’s Council on Legislation, and on the boards of the American Psychiatric Association and the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association.
As past director of Health Services for Fulton County, Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Dr. Harris oversaw all county health-related programs and functions, and spearheaded the county’s efforts to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services. Governing themes in Dr. Harris’ professional life are a passion to improve the lives of children and service to others, and she has worked for children both clinically and in the advocacy arena.
A key focus for Dr. Harris currently is developing solutions to end the nation’s opioid epidemic. She is chair of the AMA’s Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, which brings together specialty and state medical societies and other health care associations to move swiftly to implement best practices to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives.
Patrick Lank: Patrick Lank is an assistant professor in emergency medicine and is the assistant program director for the emergency medicine residency at Northwestern. Dr. Lank completed his residency training in emergency medicine at Northwestern after which he did a fellowship in medical research and obtained a Master's of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Lank is also board certified in medical toxicology, having done a medical toxicology fellowship with the Toxikon Consortium affiliated with Cook County Hospital and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lank's research interests include trends in drugs of abuse as well as how to teach physicians and patients about drugs of abuse. He is currently a co-invesitgator on an R18 award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality investigating outpatient opioid prescriptions from the emergency department.
Dan Lustig: Dan Lustig is the Vice President of Clinical Services at Haymarket Center, Chicago’s largest community-based, not-for-profit provider of comprehensive substance abuse treatment services. Dr. Lustig is a graduate of Adler School of Professional Psychology, where he earned his Psy.D. in clinical Psychology. He has over 20 years’ experience implementing quality substance abuse programs. In conjunction to his work and studies in addictions, Dr. Lustig completed the “Professional in Residence Program” at Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage California.
At Haymarket Center Dr. Lustig has oversight over 48 detoxification beds for adult men and women; 162 residential treatment beds; 84 specialty recovery home beds; and outpatient services in three locations on Chicago’s North, West, and South sides. Specialty programming under his oversight includes programs for pregnant and post-partum women with children; pregnant and postpartum women under the jurisdiction of the Cook County Jail; women who are victims of human trafficking; adult men with multiple treatment episodes; methamphetamine addiction; men reentering the community from Illinois prisons; men on electronic monitoring from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department; and adult men and women with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. He oversees substance use disorders outpatient and treatment programs for adults and adolescents on Dr. Lustig further oversees Haymarket’s Department of Health and Wellness, which provides health education, HIV counseling and testing, and Ryan White-funded substance use treatment services, and chronic disease management throughout Haymarket.
Dr. Lustig completed his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, with a Professional Residence at the Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Medical Campus, in Palm Desert, California.
Shana L. Margolis: Shana Margolis is an attending physiatrist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Center for Pain Management (CPM), and an assistant professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Margolis received her MD degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in 2003. She completed her Internal Medicine internship at Loyola University in 2004, her residency in PM&R at the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2007, and her fellowship in Sports and Spine Rehabilitation at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Sports and Spine Rehabilitation Center in 2008. Her clinical practice focuses on musculoskeletal pain, chronic pain, and injuries of the spine, hips, knees, shoulders, arms, and feet/ankles.
Richard J. Miller: Richard J Miller is the Alfred Newton Richards Professor of Pharmacology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and professor with the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. His areas of research include mechanisms of drug action, and his work has included researching dopamine, opiate, and cytokine receptors, among other things. In 2014 he published the widely lauded Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs which explored both the scientific and the social aspects of drug use – including morphine and other opioid derivatives. He earned his PhD from Cambridge University. Before coming to Northwestern University, Dr. Miller was a Professor at the University of Chicago. He has earned the title of Distinguished Investigator from NARSAD, as well as two MERIT awards from the NIH and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Julie Morita: Born and raised in Chicago, Julie Morita was appointed as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health in early 2015. Under Dr. Morita’s leadership, CDPH developed and launched Healthy Chicago 2.0, a four-year plan to assure healthy equity by addressing the social determinants of health. In addition, CDPH led efforts to pass a number of tobacco prevention initiatives including raising the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 years. Previously, Dr. Morita served as CDPH’s Chief Medical Officer leading the city’s response to the pandemic influenza outbreak where she developed a system to distribute more than one million doses of vaccine across the city as well as the city’s efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of the Ebola virus. Dr. Morita has served as a member of the Institute of Medicines Committee on Community Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and the Illinois Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. Prior to her time with CDPH, Dr. Morita served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the CDC and worked in private practice. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School, Dr. Morita lives in the City with her husband, a physician, and their two children.
David B. Neely: David Neely is an associate professor of medicine and practices general internal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his residency at Northwestern in 1985. After serving as Chief Medical Resident for a year, he has been on the faculty at Northwestern ever since. In 2011, he received his Masters of Public Health degree from Northwestern University. His career has mostly focused on teaching medical students and medicine residents. In addition, he spends 8 weeks a year on the inpatient service and 10 hours a week caring for patients in his outpatient practice. He has personally witnessed the escalation and devastation (and benefits) of chronic narcotic use in Chicago.
Michael Nerheim: Lake County State’s Attorney Michael G. Nerheim has extensive experience working in all criminal divisions of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. His experience includes working as a former assistant state’s attorney, as well as areas of complex civil litigation, criminal defense, and municipal law. Mr. Nerheim was named the 2014 State’s Attorney of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission, honored with the 2014 Frederic Milton Thrasher Award due to his outstanding leadership in prosecution, recognized with the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Moxie Award on May 21, 2014 and received the 2013 person of the year award from the United Hellenic Voters of America.
Mr. Nerheim serves as Teen Court Judge at Warren Township as well as an advisory council member of Staben House. He is also on the board of directors of the Lake County Bar Foundation, NICASA, Lake County Crime Stoppers and Former Inmates Striving Together (F.I.S.T.). He is a member of Lake County After School Coalition, Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force, member of the Lake County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and serves as chair of the Lake County Juvenile Justice Council, Lake County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, and the Lake County Sexual Assault Council. He co-founded the Lake County Heroin/Opioid Prevention Taskforce in order to address the heroin and opioid problem that is unfortunately affecting Lake County.
Michael G. Nerheim is a lifelong resident of Lake County. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota and earned his Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago, Illinois.
Candice Player: Candice Player joined the law faculty in 2015 as an Assistant Professor of Law. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in Ethics and Health Policy from Harvard University. In 2003, Professor Player received an M.Phil. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining Northwestern, served as the Naidoff Fellow in Health Policy, Law and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Perelman School of Medicine (2013-2015). Her research and teaching interests include health care law and policy, mental health law and bioethics.
Stephen R. Patton: Stephen Patton was appointed the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel in May 2011. In that position he is Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s senior legal advisor and supervises the City’s 450-person Law Department, comprised of approximately 270 lawyers who handle every aspect of municipal law and who represent the City in litigation and transactional matters.
Prior to his appointment as Chicago’s Corporation Counsel, Mr. Patton was a senior litigation partner with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, where he served in a number of leadership positions, including chair of the firm’s Litigation Management and Client Development Committees. Mr. Patton is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and serves on the College’s Selection Committee for Illinois. He has been voted by his peers as one of Illinois’ “Top 100 Super Lawyers” and for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America (2006-2010). He was named one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business Litigation/General Commercial in Chambers USA (2004-2010) and one of five “highly recommended” Chicago-based litigators in Global Counsel’s Dispute Resolution Handbook. He has been named by Corporate Board Member magazine as one of America’s Best Corporate Lawyers, and featured in The Legal 500 U.S. for his work in complex litigation.
Mr. Patton has also been active throughout his career in a number of civic causes and legal aide organizations, including serving as President of the Chicago Bar Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Advisors to the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation. Mr. Patton was a recipient of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Service Award. Mr. Patton received his law degree from Georgetown University and his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Pamela F. Rodriguez: Pamela F. Rodriguez is president of TASC, Inc. of Illinois, a statewide, nonprofit case management agency that serves adults and youth with substance use and mental health disorders. Ms. Rodriguez oversees TASC's public policy, research and service delivery to nearly 25,000 individuals each year who are referred to TASC by Illinois courts, corrections, and child welfare systems. She was appointed in 2007 to serve as a practitioner member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is a member of the Juvenile Justice Leadership Council, the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Advisory Council, Governor Rauner’s Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Commission, and an advisory board member of the IL Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice. Ms. Rodriguez earned her master's degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Darlie Simerson: Darlie Simerson is an Assistant Professor and Program Director in the nurse practitioner programs at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner currently practicing in emergency and urgent care settings. Dr. Simerson has over 30 years of emergency department experience in several areas of the United States. She currently sits on a local hospital committee that is tasked with finding alternative practices for chronic pain management for patients that frequent the emergency department. Other interests include smoking cessation and preventive medicine.
Juliet Sorensen: Juliet S. Sorensen is the Harry R. Horrow Professor in International Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where she is associated with the Center for International Human Rights. She is a founder and director of the Northwestern Access to Health Project, an interdisciplinary partnership that analyzes access to health in resource limited settings. Prof. Sorensen’s teaching and research interests include international criminal law, corruption, and health and human rights. Prof. Sorensen received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Master’s in Public Health Program in 2014 and 2015. Her appointments include the Cook County Board of Ethics and the Global Anti-Corruption Committee and Crimes Against Humanity Working Group of the American Bar Association.
Greg Teas: Greg Teas is currently the Service Line Chief of Psychiatry for AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine. He has served as medical service director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at ABBHH since 1990 and is involved with various committees focused on pain management at both Ascension Health and AMITA Health. His clinical interests are detoxification protocols, psychopharmacology and the interface between pain management and addictive behaviors.
Dennis A. Wichern: Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Dennis Wichern entered on duty with the United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1987, as a Special Agent assigned to the St. Louis Field Division. After conducting numerous investigations involving criminal organizations operating in the St. Louis area, SAC Wichern was promoted to Group Supervisor in 1997, where he supervised investigators, intelligence analysts and support staff. SAC Wichern has worked in the Domestic Operations Division, where he coordinated multi-jurisdictional investigations and as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Domestic Operations, where he managed Supervisory Special Agents and oversaw multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional investigations.
In March 2005, SAC Wichern was reassigned to the Chicago Division as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Indianapolis District Office, where he was responsible for all of DEA’s operations throughout Indiana and in January 2015, SAC Wichern was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division. He directs all enforcement and administrative activities for DEA in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.